To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many planning areas in England are in need of additional primary school places by September 2017; how many such areas have (a) never had an application to open a primary or all-through mainstream free school and (b) no open primary or all-through mainstream free schools.
8 November 2016
The department collects information from each local authority on the number of available school places and pupil forecasts through the annual school capacity survey (SCAP). The main tables contain local authority level data. The underlying data on school capacity is published at school level and pupil forecasts at planning area level. The latest published data, relating to the position as reported at May 2015, can be found at:
The department has also published local authority basic need scorecards for primary schools. The latest published scorecards relate to 2014 capacity and contain departmental estimates of the number of additional primary school places needed to meet demand in September 2016, once existing plans for new places have been factored in. The department does not publish data on the number of additional primary places needed to meet demand at planning area level. The latest published data and details of the methodology used for the estimates can be found at:
Estimates for the number of additional primary and secondary school places needed to meet demand in 2017/18 will be available when the department publishes the 2015 scorecards, which are currently in preparation. Local authorities will have planned and created many more places since the data was collected.
The department also published a transparency note on free school applications and assessing the need for places, in September 2016, which is available at:
This gives information on how many free schools have been approved in areas where there was a need for additional school places. Across all mainstream free schools approved in waves 5-11 (when a need for places had become one of the assessment criteria), 83% were located in areas where there was a need for additional school places. An additional group of schools were approved on the basis of more up-to-date LA data on future need for places or where section 106 agreements suggested need related to new housing developments. 76% of mainstream free schools opened up to September 2016 have been opened in areas where there was a need for additional school places.